A facet joint injection could help relieve the pain and discomfort that you’re experiencing as a result of spinal arthritis. If a facet joint injection is successful in relieving your neck or back pain for a few months, this will make it much easier for you to stick to a conservative, non-surgical treatment regimen, which could provide your best source for long-term pain relief.
How are facet joint injections administered?
Before a physician can administer the injection, he or she must first ascertain which region of a patient’s spine contains facet joint degeneration. Next, the physician will administer a local anesthetic to help reduce the sting of the injection. In some cases, a sedative IV may be administered to help patients fully relax, as tension can heighten the pain of an injection. After the physician has administered the anesthetic and/or IV sedation, he or she will insert a needle into the affected facet joint. He or she will inject a bit of contrasting dye and use imaging equipment (likely an X-ray) to verify that the needle has been inserted into the proper location within the joint. Once the needle has been properly positioned, the physician will inject numbing medication and cortisone into the facet joint. If the patient experiences immediate relief from facet joint pain, then the physician will know that he or she has correctly located the source of the patient’s pain.
What happens next?
Most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately after receiving a facet joint injection. Though some pain and soreness may linger as the numbing medication wears off, the cortisone should fully mobilize within a few days. Cortisone is a long-lasting hormone and should continue to provide pain relief for several months. In the meantime, many patients are advised to utilize other treatment methods, such as over-the-counter pain medication and physical therapy.
Laser Spine Institute
If your facet joint pain is so severe that a facet joint injection has provided little or no relief, the orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. Contact us for your MRI or CT scan review and to learn about the minimally invasive procedures we can perform to treat degenerative facet joint conditions.